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<p>Before children, my husband and I didn't really celebrate Christmas - no tree, decorations, or gifts to each other. However, with small children, I have decided to start celebrating this holiday. We got a tree last year, lightly decorated the mantel, and give a few gifts to my son (2 and a half at the time). Well, this year he is 3 and a half and much more aware of the holiday and really seems to love it. I also have a 9 month old who will no doubt grow to enjoy this holiday too. My question is whether to introduce the Christmas stocking tradition or to just skip it.</p>
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<p>As a child, I loved having a stocking and opening all the little surprises inside. It was an activity that my sisters and I could do as we waited for my mom (who took forever!!!!) to wake up. As an adult, it just looks like a built in place to sink a lot of money on useless objects that will then clutter the home year after year (what a scrooge I am!). However, I love the homey feeling of stockings hung on the hearth during the winter holiday and I know children love them.</p>
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<p>I've thought about how I can have them without falling into a money/clutter trap each year. I've thought about filling them with homemade treats like seasoned nuts, dried fruits, homemade popcorn, and gingerbread cookies but those stockings are pretty big fill and I don't want to overload my very small children with too many sweets. I've thought about filling them with useful things like new socks and art supplies but I keep those types of items stocked throughout the year and really don't use them up all that quickly.</p>
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<p>For those of you who follow the stocking tradition, what do you put in them?</p>
<p> </p>
<p>What about turning them into "Giving stockings" - a place for the children to pick out small things to give away to another child in need?</p>
 

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<p>Our children have always had stockings...we just put the wrapped Christmas presents in them, then place them under the tree; it just adds to the festive look, and the kids love getting their presents out of the stocking. They somehow become much more exciting when they have been in the stocking! Sometimes I throw in some special Christmas chocolates...the European kinds which are particularly delicious. But as you said your children are too young for that, and definitely too young for eating nuts due to the potential choking/inhaling hazard.</p>
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<p>Frankly I would ditch the 'giving stocking' idea on Christmas day....in the long run it is more likely to make them resentful of other kids who get to keep the goodies in their stockings. However it would be a nice idea to do that maybe a few days later...when the Christmas excitement has worn off, and then perhaps say to them that it's now 'giving stocking' time? That would be a good way to start decluttering after Christmas too.</p>
 

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<p>I love stockings, but hate clutter and buying for the sake of buying.</p>
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<p>This year, everyone (even the baby) will get a toothbrush and an orange. The baby will get some bath toys, a sippy cup and a board book. DS1 will get a DVD, a book, some chocolates and some bath toys. DH and I will get socks, post-it notes and pens (where do all the pens go???). My father, who will be with us, will get some nice jam and his favorite cookies as well as the chocolates / orange / toothbrush.</p>
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<p>The stockings are big, but they don't have to be filled to the point of exploding, either, y'know? I'm aiming for a few fun surprises.</p>
 

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<p>We usually do toothbrushes in stockings too, plus a few very small toys that my kids love like Hot Wheels, a little Lego set, etc. I also add a few large pieces of fruit to each stocking (oranges and apples hold up well, and bananas are another favorite) and some snacky foods like nuts or crackers (gluten free this year.) This year I'll also be adding some art supplies -- crayons, markers, maybe a new set of watercolors and a small sketch pad. Oh and they'll each get stickers and their very own roll of scotch tape. We really limit candy, but they'll probably get a couple of candy canes and a set of those little chocolate coins.</p>
 

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<p>I sewed stokings for the kids so they are not as large as some I've seen. I have fun filling them though.</p>
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<p>Not all gifts are new, I'm happy to pick things up used throughout the year.</p>
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<p>I also put in things we would have bought anyway, though you might get a fancier version in your stocking. Eg I generally buy plain socks but we always have a fun pair for Christmas.</p>
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<p>They usually get some chocolate coins and satsuma, this year I think DD will have a small bottle of cola.</p>
 

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<p> </p>
<p>Stockings go on the end of the bed, to keep children amused for a little while when they wake up too early on Christmas morning. Mom and Dad get an extra 15 or 20 minutes sleep (hoping for an extra hour or 2, but hey, we'll take what we can get at 5:30 a.m)! </p>
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<p>There's ALWAYS a mandarin orange in the toe, and a Terry's chocolate orange (to be eaten later), and a book (or 3) and a new toothbrush.</p>
<p>The rest tends to vary. Some past ideas: </p>
<p>- small LEGO or Bionicles gift pack</p>
<p>- Warhammer figures</p>
<p>- wooden train for the train set</p>
<p>- crayons or markers or pens and other office supplies/stationery items</p>
<p>- craft kits, beads, hemp for bracelets </p>
<p>- knitting needles and a skein of yarn</p>
<p>- DVD or CD</p>
<p>- iTunes gift card</p>
<p>- manicure kit</p>
<p>- soap, lotion, facial blotting tissues, loofah, favourite lip balm </p>
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<p> </p>
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<p> </p>
<p> </p>
 

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<p>We never had stockings as a kid and I never really felt like something was missing. But, my husbands family did do stockings, but the thing was never completely full, just a few fun items. We do do them for our kids. They have an orange, some nuts, a bit of candy, a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste, then just one or two small things and honestly the thing is usually full, full, full.</p>
 

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<p>We do stockings, but they have useful things in them.  Toothbrushes, toothpaste.  They also have a car or two, a candy cane and a gift card.</p>
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<p>Dh's almost always has a dvd.  Ours aren't huge and stuffed full but the kids love them anyways.</p>
 

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<p>Stocking are the best part of Christmas.  You can buy small stockings, make your own or just buy some nice socks (striped, Christmas patterned, etc) and use those.</p>
 

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<p>My stocking was always my favorite part of Christmas. My dad traveled a lot, and he would buy things throughout the year to put in my stocking that were unusual. Chocolates and gum from other countries, little trinkets... it was awesome - my parents really got into Christmas and worked very hard to keep me believing in Santa as long as possible.</p>
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<p>We do a stocking now, for my ds. We don't do stocking for adults anymore - its just so much cheaper and easier to just do one for Henry.</p>
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<p>Like a lot of others, I always put a toothbrush in his stocking. This year, he will be getting some paints and brushes - stuff I was going to give him anyway, but is small enough to fit in his stocking. And, this may be controversial around here, but I'm putting in a couple of boxes of those Popits - those little white things that you buy at fireworks stands and throw down on the ground and they pop? He loves those things.</p>
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<p>The stockings that we use are long and narrow and tightly knit, so books don't fit. I'll put a little bit of special candy in there, and that'll be about it.</p>
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<p> </p>
 

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<p>I'm not the best person to answer this, as I go way overboard with stockings. (It's really strange. I'm not much of a shopper, and have never been very consumer focused. I'm not out of control with gifts in general. But, stockings make me irrationally wacky, and I want to fill them to bursting. We didn't have stockings like that as kids - <em>lots</em> of fun, with interesting little trinkets, but not stuffed to bursting. I have no idea where it came from.)</p>
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<p>However, things I've done, this year or in the past (and your kids are younger than most of mine, so many will be useless, but what the heck):</p>
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<p>Lip balm</p>
<p>Toothbrush</p>
<p>Band-aids</p>
<p>Small bug jars, on strings (as necklaces)</p>
<p>Magnifying glasses</p>
<p>Tiny "dino dig" kits</p>
<p>Wooden bird gliders</p>
<p>Crayons (my kids have tons of crayons, but they always like new, pointy ones that still have wrappers)</p>
<p>Bubbles</p>
<p>Magnets (obviously not for your kids yet!)</p>
<p>Hotwheels type construction vehicles</p>
<p>Headbands, barrettes, and ponytail holders</p>
<p>Flashlights (these were LL Bean LED flashlights, with a crank - WAY more money than I would usually spend on a stocking stuffer)</p>
<p>Glowstick bracelets</p>
<p>Mittens/stretch gloves (I like to have a few extra pairs around, to throw in my bag for outings and such)</p>
<p>Mini hairbrush</p>
<p>Small notebooks</p>
<p>Tape...biggest hit was small multi-coloured rolls of electrical tape, but scotch tape is a winner, too (dh gets duct tape, masking tape, and box tape)</p>
<p>A colouring book (for the younger ones) or comic (for ds1) goes in the top</p>
<p>Assorted candies (I put in a lot of different kinds, but small amounts of each)</p>
<p>Nuts</p>
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<p>There is always, always, always a mandarin orange in the toe. It's not a stocking (imo) without one. I may also add a pomegranate this year, as my kids love pomegranates, and that will fill it up a lot, which helps me cut back on the other stuff.</p>
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<p>I do a bunch of other stuff for older people (ds1 is 17, and I do one for dh)...deodorant, pine tar soap for dh, guitar strings, picks, sketching pencils/charcoal for ds1...all over the map.</p>
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<p>I'm really, really trying to bust my over-consumerist approach to stockings, but I just love them sooooo much and see sooooo many things that the kids would love. It's hard to get a grip on it. <span><img alt="redface.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/redface.gif"></span></p>
 

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<p>Toothbrushes? <span><img alt="headscratch.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/headscratch.gif"></span></p>
<p> </p>
<p><span>I have to admit I have never heard of giving toothbrushes at Christmas, it seems that many of you do....it must be an American thing?</span></p>
 

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<p>We would get an ornament each year and that would go in our stocking, plus an orange in the toe. deodorant and other stuff from avon ( mom sold avon : p), lip balm, candy - never anything wrapped.  It would keep us busy until mom got up for the big presents and Dad could have his coffee.  ILs give thing like toothpaste in theirs and everything is wrapped.  You could definitely could give things that would be used and used up so not adding much to your toy load.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>clutterwarrior</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283237/christmas-traditions-stockings-or-no#post_16091054"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Toothbrushes? <span><img alt="headscratch.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/headscratch.gif"></span></p>
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<p><span>I have to admit I have never heard of giving toothbrushes at Christmas, it seems that many of you do....it must be an American thing?</span></p>
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<p><br>
I think it's just a fun little thing that fits in a stocking and can be done in different colors/decor to fit the personality. We do them too. Usually socks, toothbrush, something to read, card game or similar, stickers, playdoh, bubble bath-or-soap-or-washcloth with Santa/holiday decor, holiday-candy (foil wrapped Santa, candy cane). Fills nicely. The kids get to have 1 candy before breakfast, then breakfast, then use new toothbrush.</p>
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<p>My mom's tradition was always 1 present to open on Christmas eve with pajamas and a holiday themed book. This is our first Christmas without her, so I don't know if I'll do it or not. They have plenty of PJs as it is.... Maybe slippers and the book from the stocking/non-holiday themed instead? We have too many badly written xmas books as it is now!</p>
 

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<p>I mostly fill the kids stockings with whatever gifts we are giving the kids that year. </p>
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<p>It's a bit of a confusing mess for our family in that we go out of town for Christmas (so Grandpa and Grandma do the stocking there), and my ILs also have their own stockings for all of us at their house (which gets filled with toothbrushes and the like - I was so offended the first year as I'd never gotten anything like that in a stocking before ;)) </p>
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<p>They don't need to be full to be fun - if you want to do them pick a few fun things and enjoy.</p>
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<p>Tjej</p>
 

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<p>Here are the standards that are in every year since we started doing "real stockings" (age 3)</p>
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<p>fun toothbrush/toothpaste</p>
<p>assorted chapstick</p>
<p>fun band aids</p>
<p>photo ornament </p>
<p>personalized pencils</p>
<p>markers/crayons</p>
<p>chocolate orange</p>
<p>candy cane</p>
<p>boxer shorts (matches dad's) </p>
<p>legos (duplos)</p>
<p>bubble bath</p>
<p>chocolate gelt</p>
<p>orange/tangerine in the toe</p>
<p> </p>
<p>none of it junk/clutter (IMHO)</p>
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<p> </p>
 

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<p>I love filling the stockings more than giving the big (ish) gifts as I find really fun things for the boys that I wouldn't normally buy for them, like the small lego kits, those squidgy balls that bulge when you squeeze them, and little shapped pads of paper. Theres usually some kind of silly pen in there and a snack to keep them going in the morning until i wake up.</p>
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<p>Other than the stockings and the Christmas tree I only have 5 other seasonal decorations up.</p>
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<p><a class="H-lightbox-open" href="http://www.mothering.com/community/content/type/61/id/456417/width/1000/height/800/flags/" target="_blank"><img alt="Christmasstockings.jpg" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="16604" data-type="61" src="http://www.mothering.com/community/content/type/61/id/16604/width/375/height/500" style="; width: 375px; height: 500px"></a></p>
 

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<p>Growing up, we had stockings that had some candy, deck of cards, small toy or car, an orange.</p>
<p>My partners family only does stockings. Each person has one and that is what santa brings/fills. All of their gifts go in the stocking or just beside it. Then the only other presents are what the kids give each other and one gift from Mom and Dad.</p>
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<p>Our DD is only 17months this year. We are not sure what we will do for her. I am not really into the whole "stocking is the gift" thing. But I do want to do stockings of some sort.</p>
<p>I like the idea of small toys, stickers, a treat, maybe a doll, small animals, etc.</p>
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<p>Our big tradition in our family was one present before bed on Christmas Eve. We always begged to open one and my Mum would hym and haw about it and then finally relent but only one she chose. It was ALWAYS pajamas. She said she did this to make sure that we were always wearing nice pajamas that fit well for the pictures on Christmas morning. I think I may keep that tradition.</p>
 

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<p>Just because you keep pens/paper/art supplies stocked throughout the year does not mean that your kids wouldn't enjoy getting their own new, personal version. Also, you could put a smaller component of a large gift into the stocking, for instance we were going to get DD a play kitchen, and I had thought to put the play food, along with a few other things into the stocking. I really enjoyed getting some new sparkly pens, maybe a little notebook and one or two treats to eat in my stocking. I think that the adults used stockings as a way to keep me occupied so they would get to sleep in! You're  right about all the junk- but you don't have to stuff the stockings to the gills in order for them to get enjoyment. I really don't think kids compare what they receive in their stockings to others, by the time they go back to school (assuming you don't homeschool) it's kind of a hazy fun blur.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>EviesMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283237/christmas-traditions-stockings-or-no#post_16091081"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
My mom's tradition was always 1 present to open on Christmas eve with pajamas and a holiday themed book. This is our first Christmas without her, so I don't know if I'll do it or not. They have plenty of PJs as it is.... Maybe slippers and the book from the stocking/non-holiday themed instead? We have too many badly written xmas books as it is now!</div>
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<p><br>
I started doing the PJs thing last year, after reading about it here. We don't do a book, though. Since dh's robe was falling apart, I also got him a new robe to wear on Chrismas morning, and grabbed a couple sleep shirts for myself. DH doesn't need another robe, so I'm going to get him some warm, heavy socks. DS1 will get a new pair of sleep pants. I think the PJs can work, without necessarily buying PJs, yk? Slippers, warm socks, robes...lots of PJ related things.</p>
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<p>I never did toothbrushes until I heard about them here, but I threw in a couple last year or the year before. They haven't become a standard, though.</p>
 
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